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Nature Versus Nurture

My mother-in-law is a phenomenal storyteller. She remembers precise details that make each of her stories rich with texture and emotion. One such story is about her grandson, my step-son,  Sam. He is an amazing artist. As an adult, he can often be seen sitting and sketching. According to my mother-in-law, this is something he has always done. His drawings, and his paintings, evoke emotion. They have movement. They have depth.

One story his Bubbie likes to share is about the time he drew a horse. Sam was about five years old. Prior to sitting with his little pencil and notepad, he ran over to a real horse to pet the animal. The adults accompanying him thought it was a charming moment, a young boy who was fascinated by a majestic animal. But what was really happening was this: the young artist was tactically learning about the lines of a horse. He learned to draw the essence of the horse by touching it.

I often wonder if his parents or grandparents had stopped him from using his entire sensory system to experience the 3D concept of this horse, would he have become as skilled at creating the 2D image? It is the age-old question about nature versus nurture. Where does innate talent contribute versus experience to the expression of one’s talents? (Trust me, he and his brother are innately talented!)  

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